Broken Windows & Standards of Order

In Dunham and Alpert’s book Critical Issues in Policing, concepts of perceived safety are challenged and compared with actual crime rates based on the presence or lack of a foot patrol police unit within and surrounding neighborhoods. Results generally revealed that residents felt greatly at ease and more secure with the presence of foot cops compared to neighborhoods lacking them, yet despite this attitude crime rates within both spaces had remained similar if not exactly the same. The book goes on to detail an idea integral to my research and argument known as the Broken Windows Theory summed up accurately as, “serious street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly behavior goes unchecked.” One broken window in a building begets another; the more likely an area looks prone to petty crime, the more likely that area will receive this vandalism. The patrol cops are linked to the broken window theory in the sense that although they did not outright lower crime rates, they created order within the communities that they walked the streets of. Patrol cops prevented untended behavior; actions that break down the unity of a community and eventually lead to the slippery slope of degradation.

In relation to my own argument I can find support in the idea that street art not only creates unity within a community, but also that it improves the quality of the area by upholding a higher standard of order.

Dunham, Roger G., and Geoffrey P. Alpert. Critical issues in policing: contemporary readings. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press, Inc., 2015. Print.

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